Brooklyn H.S. of Arts Choir Will Perform
NEW YORK — Friday is the 125th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty, and the National Park Service will be holding a gala ceremony with actress Sigourney Weaver reading Emma Lazarus’ famous poem about the statue, “The New Colossus.”
After delivering his remarks, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will present gifts of friendship to the representative of the French Government, since the statue was a gift from the French people and was designed by French sculptor August Bartholdi. A choir from the Brooklyn High School of the Arts will perform “Huddled Masses” from the off-Broadway-bound musical Liberty, and finally, at 7:45 p.m., Macy’s will present a fireworks show.
For her birthday, Lady Liberty, which can be easily seen from Red Hook, is also getting high-tech gifts: webcams on her torch that will let viewers gaze out at New York Harbor and read the tablet in her hands or see visitors on the grounds of the island below in real time.
The five torch cams are to be switched on Friday during the ceremony, which will commemorate the statue’s dedication on Oct. 28, 1886. The ceremony caps a week of events centered around the historic date, including the debut of a major museum exhibition about poet Lazarus.
The statue’s webcams will offer views from the torch that have been unavailable to the public since 1916, said Stephen A. Briganti, the president of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation Inc.
“The statue is the most famous symbol in the world,” he said. “Most of the people in the world have seen it, but they have not seen it like this. It will be a visit that so many people, including New Yorkers, have never taken before.”
Through the webcams, internet users around the world will have four views, including a high-quality, 180-degree stitched panorama of the harbor with views of Ellis and Governors islands as well as Red Hook, Brooklyn. They will be able to watch as ships go by Liberty Island and observe as the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center goes up floor-by-floor in lower Manhattan. They can get a fish-eye look at the torch itself as it glows in the night.
The public is invited to attend the ceremony, with ferry service available between Manhattan and Liberty Island. The interior of the statue — from the pedestal down to the museum base — will close after the 125th celebration for up to a year so that stairwells, elevators and mechanical systems can be upgraded. The park itself, however, will remain open to visitors.
Brooklyn Society Took Part in Original Dedication
During the original dedication 125 years ago, then-president Grover Cleveland, a past New York governor, rode in an open carriage, followed by members of his cabinet. There was an armada of ships in New York Harbor, and naval vessels and nearby forts pounded out 21-gun salutes.
Also taking part in the elaborate ceremonies was Brooklyn Mayor Daniel D. Whitney, who later became the third president of the venerable Society of Old Brooklynites.
In the parade and later on Bedloe’s Island (now Liberty Island) was a contingent from the Society of Old Brooklynites headed by the society’s first President John W. Hunter, a former Brooklyn mayor and congressman. Other Society officers back in 1886 were 1st Vice President Edward White, 2nd Vice President Albert H. Osborn, Treasurer Judah P. Voorhees and Secretary B.A. Hayes.
Today’s officers of the 131-year-old society include Acting President Myrtle Whitmore, former NYC housing commissioner; Vice President Ted General, Treasurer Sherman Silverman, Corresponding Secretary Holly Fuchs Kohler, Recording Secretary Linda Orlando and Honorary Board Chairman, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
Other prominent members include State Senator Marty Golden, Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, Congressman Ed Towns, Curtis Sliwa, Dozier Hasty, General Arnold Albert, Brian Merlis, Ralph Perfetto, Michael Spinner, Lee Rosenzweig and John LaCorte to name a few.
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